World Vision concerned by trending Covid-19 cases among children, urges more priority to their well-being
With latest health reports of increasing number of COVID-19 infection among children, World Vision urges family members especially the parents and adult caregivers to be mindful of the prescribed minimum health standards even while at home to also protect children and prevent viral transmission amidst the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ).
World Vision, an international child-focused NGO, also expressed its support to all stakeholders in upholding everyone’s welfare especially of children amidst the ECQ and heightened restrictions in selected areas threatened by the more contagious Delta variant.
World Vision National Director Rommel V. Fuerte raised the need for adults to take this development seriously and be aware of children’s risks if they remain complacent.
As of August 12, the Department of Health (DOH) records 87,663 active COVID-19 cases, making the overall total number of cases in the Philippines since last year to 1,700,363. Infected children nine years old and below comprise 4% or 65,558 cases while those between 10 to 19 years old represent 7% or 116,035.
Nationwide, the top six most affected regions are the National Capital Region, Region II Cagayan Valley, Region III Central Luzon, Region IV-A CALABARZON, Region VI Western VIsayas and Region VII Central Visayas.
“While there is urgency for adults to be vaccinated, we also call for the government to hasten the testing and immediate availability of safe and effective vaccines for children,” he added.
“Together with our partners, we pray that the global milestones in fighting this pandemic can be realized here in our country as well,” hopes Fuerte, who is also a Board Member of the Council for the Welfare of Children (CWC) under the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).
Recently, a study by World Vision revealed that during lockdowns, children and their households suffer from a significant lack of access to basic health care services, increasing the risk of maternal and child morbidity.
During this pandemic, the child development agency also stressed the need to ensure babies’ proper nutrition. World Vision technical program manager for health and nutrition Carleneth San Valentin, underscores the need to promote, protect and uphold the exclusive breastfeeding among mothers, as a practical defense for infants zero to six months old against dreaded and preventable diseases
“The Implementing Rules and Regulations of laws that support breastfeeding are clearly provided in Executive Order No. 51 or the Philippine Milk Code and Republic Act 11148 or the “Kalusugan at Nutrisyon ng Mag-nanay Act”, the Health and Nutrition expert said while warning that breastmilk substitutes that undermine breastfeeding should not be included in the general distribution of emergency food packs.
San Valentin also added that everyone comply with guidelines from DOH Nutrition Cluster Advisory No. 1, Series 2020 which states that family food packs should contain age-and culturally-appropriate, clean and nutritious food items to promote proper nutrition of children.
As stricter community quarantine protocols are implemented, children, based on the same Rapid Assessment, have expressed negative emotions such as sadness, fear and worry. It stated that almost half of the respondent parents and caregivers admitted that they have used physical or psychological punishment to children.
“A number of children are unaware or unsure about child protection services in their communities,” shared World Vision Technical Program Manager for Child Protection Jezreel Domingo, “so we urge the government to activate and ensure the functionality of Violence against Women and Children Desks and Barangay Councils for the Protection of Children, as stated in the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Advisory of April 2020.”
She also said tha ensuring the continued functioning of child-friendly reporting mechanisms such as SOS hotlines allow concerned citizens to report any incident of abuse or exploitation.
The Child Protection Expert also reminded community stakeholders to enforce and monitor the DILG-CWC Joint Memorandum Circular No. 2020-001, which provides for the reiteration of protocols on reaching out to children in street situations, in need of special protection, at risk, and in conflict with the law during the Enhanced Community Quarantine.
One of the recommendations of the said study is to also assist families in ensuring children are “in school”, which, for World Vision Technical Program Manager of Education Geomel Jetonzo, is crucial to all Filipino learners’ safe, impactful and sustained education. As most school-aged children and students are now adapting to distance learning mode, it remains imperative that parents and children are made aware of the risks and measures to protect themselves from Covid-19 even while studying at home.